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ignorance and uncertainty, with respect to these moft important points, in which all men have been and still are, who have enjoyed no such revelation, is a constant, striking evidence of this.
There are, indeed, those who refuse to admit this evidence ; and infilt that human reason alone, unaslifted by any revelation, except what is made in the works of creation and providence, is sufficient to investigate every necessary and important truth; and therefore think themselves authorized to reject and despise every other revelation that pretends to come from God, as the contrivance and production of designing, or weak, deluded men. But while they entertain so high an opinion of human reason, and especially their own, in the face of the glaring evidence from fact and experiment, just now mentioned, they have produced an incontestible evidence of their own sad mistake ; for upon examination, the writings of the deilts are found to contain numerous contradi&tions with each other, on points of the highest moment; and most of them have embraced for truth, many tenets most unreasonable and absurd. Thus, when they have renounced revelation, and boasted of their own reason, and relied upon that, as a sufficient and infallible guide ; they have all, or most of them, run into darkness and delusion. And at the same time, there is abundant evidence, that all the real light and knowledge they appear to have in divine things, which they attribute to the unaslisted exercise of their own reason, and which is more than the benighted heathen have, origi. nated from that very revelation, which they discard and despise. With great propriety therefore they have been compared to a man who is in a room, illuminated by the bright shining of a candle, and thereby is aslifted to be hold the obječts around him dißinctly : But being ignorant of the allistance which he has from the candle imagines he discerns those objects by the strength of his
own light ; and therefore despises and endeavours to extinguih that light; which if withdrawn, would leave him wholly in the dark*. Besides, there is this farther evidence against them, and in favour of the revelation which they renounce, viz. It does not appear; that by all their writings and attempts, they have made any reformation in the morals of men, or that so much as one man has been reclaimed from a vicious course of life, and become sober, humble, benevolent, pious and devout, by being made a convert to them : But, on the contrary, most, if not all their disciples, are of a character dire@ly the reverse of this; and they are most adrnired by men of vicious character, or who at least, are evidently without those virtues which are essential to constitute a truly religious man. ... - Moreover, if the revelation they discard represents men to be in such a state of depravity and vicious blindDess, as to be disposed to shut their eyes against the clearelt light, and to treat it as these men in fact do treat the Bible ; and foretells this same treatment and conduct of theirs, as it certainly does; while they are thus slighting and rejecting it, they are really giving a strong evidence of its divine original. · But, to return : The usefulness and necessity of such a revelation is abundantly evident from fact, and has been implicitly or expressly acknowledged by many of the most wise and inquisitive among the heathent. Hence we may conclude, that God has given one to men: And when we find ourselves in posseffion of a book
which has all the marks and evidence that we can reason i ably expect or desire, that it is indeed from God; and suited to answer all the ends of a divine revelation, we B 2
shall See Leland's View of the Deistical Writers. And Clarke on revealed rea ligion. Propofition vii.
+ See Dr. Clarke on the truth and certainty of the Christian revea lation. Proposition vii.
shall be very criminal, if we do not receive it with gratitude, and improve it to promote all the important purposes for which it is given. .. . .
Such a revelation we find to be contained in the book called the Bible, or the holy 'scriptures. For while all other pretended revelations from God, which have been, or now are found among men, are without all proper evidence of their being such, and carry evident marks of imposture, which has been abundantly demonstrated, by those who have examined them: This has stood the test of the severest scrutiny both of its friends and enemies; and the more it has been examined, the more clearly does it appear, that all the objections which have been made against it are fucile and groundless; and that there is sufficient and abundant evidence that it is from God, suited to give fatisfaction and a well grounded assurance of its divine original, to every impartial, honest mind.""
The first part of this book was written by Moses, after he had given abundant evidence, by a series of aftopishing miracles; done in the light of the Egyptians, and all Israel, that he spake and acted, under the influence and direction of the supreme Ruler of the universe, and had sufficiently established his character, as a prophet divinely inspired. Mofes said he was sent by Jehovah, the only true God; the God of Israel, to demand of Pharaoh the king of Egypt, to let his people go out from under his oppreffive hand ; and foretold that if he refused to do it, God would say his first born fon, Pharaoh said he knew not who Jehovah was, and bid defiance to him, declaring he would pay no regard to his demand. This gave opportunity for an open trial and decision, whether Jehovah, the God of Israel, was the true God, or the gods of Pharaoh and the Egyptians. The priests and the magicians of Egypt, were collected, and entered the dispute with Moses. They
wrought several miracles, in imitation of those which Moses did in the name of the God of Ifrael'; but there was an evident, decided superiority in those wrought by Jehovah : And the contest went on, till at length they were not able to stand before Moses, and confelled pub. licly that Jehovah was God, and superiour to theirs. Moses went on doing wonders, in the sight of all Egypt, and infliding various successive judgments on Pharaoh, and on the Egyptians; at the same time particularly foretelling the miraculous chastisement which Jehovah had revealed to him he would inflict. At length, Moles informed Pharaoh, that if he should still persist in refusing to let Israel go out of Egypt, Jehovah had said to him, that he would say all the first born in Egypt; and this was foretold to all Israel ; which accordingly came to país : And the Egyptians were made to fear and trema ble before the God of Israel, and intreated his people to pray to him for them, acknowledging he was the supreme God. Thus Israel went out of Egypt, as Jehovah had promised they should, and were led through the Red Sea, the waters dividing to make them a way, at the direction and command of their Gad; while Pharaoh and the Egyptians, who were so hardy as to follow them, were all drowned in the waters. Thus Jehovah publicly triumphed over all the gods of Egypt, and executed judgment upon them; and by the fullest and most in, conteftible evidence established his character as the only true God. The people of Israel felt, and solemnly acknowledged this, at the Red Sea ; and they were led on
by the hand of Moses, attended with a constant course i of miracles, unto Mount Sinai. On that moun:, God
appeared in a manner suited to manifest his presence and awful, glorious majesty, and excite their utmost atten. tion, fear and reverence; and then, from the top of the mountain, out of the fire, with a voice that could be diltinatly heard by all that vast multitude, consisting of at
least three millions of people, he spake the ten commandments, and added no more. They were after. wards written on two tables of stone, by the finger of God; which was most probably the first writing by let. ters, in this world * : And Moses, being taught of God to read it, and so how to write, was directed and inspira ed by God to write the history of the creation of the storld, and the events which had taken place since; and of mankind, so far as was necessary these things should be recorded and known ; and, more particularly, the history of the origin of the Hebrews, and the events of divine providence respecting them. As this is the first, and oldest, so it is the only authentic history of the creation of the world, and of mankind, from the beginning to that time, which is an era of about two thousand five hundred years. Moses also wrote a code of laws for that people, which hë said were dictated to him by God, containing many promises and threatnings, together with a number of typical institutions, which were shadows of things to come. And there are many predictions in his writings, which have already come to pass; cspecially that God would raise up unto them that grcat prophet, the Messiah, of whom he himself was a type ; and if they would not hear him, they should be dellroyed.". * God having thus established his character, as the only true God, by abundant and most clear evidence ; and magnified Moses in the light of the Egyptians and all Ifrael, as his servant and prophet, directed and inspired by him both to do, and to say, all that he did and said, in The name of Jehovah'; he forbid them to hearken to a prophet, or any other person, who should arise and do wonders and miracles, not in the name of Jehovab, but
• See Dr. Winder's history of the rise, progress, declension and reviva. of knowledge, chiefy religious.